How does a writer turn into a novelist? More than desire, hard work, years of developing skill, networking, and persistence? Yes, more, for we need inspiration. An idea.
Mine came in the form of paper bags, totes, and boxes full of vintage photos, letters, and receipts from my father’s family. They threw little away. Self-named “pack rats.” I prefer to call us, “sentimentalists.”
Because I am a sentimentalist with the rest of the pack, they appointed me the family record keeper. I suspect it’s because no one wanted to find places to store all the stuff. No one wanted to toss out these preserved memories either. After forty years of collecting their stashes after they passed on to heaven, I finally opened a tote in 2019.
Glory be! Who were these people? What was I to do with all these items they’d saved? Some dated back to 1890. And the most enchanting thing was, they were mine. My family who I never knew.
As I dug deeper into their histories, and asked questions of my oldest brother and cousins, these relatives came alive again in my heart and mind. They lived more interesting lives than I was ever told. The one unexpected thing I discovered was how listening to Irish priests speak through my childhood gave me an ear for the dialect. It happily comes through in my character’s speech.
Aha! Here was my inspiration for a fictionalized story my grandfather told me. Readers of the short story, South Dakota Foreman, in the Heartland Treasures anthology, requested more. So, I wrote the historical fiction novel, Muldoon’s Misfortunes. Those beta readers and critique partners for that manuscript wanted more about Liam, and Orla. It spurred two more Muldoon novels in the making.
Now under contract for all three novels with Celebrate Lit Publishing, I am also self-publishing a novella. It’s cut from Muldoon’s Misfortunes, and entirely stands alone. (More about it next week).
My Pinterest Boards hold some captivating images of the era and locations. Hop on over there to get the visuals similar to what’s in my imagination for Muldoon’s Minnesota Darling the novella, and my debut novel: Muldoon’s Misfortunes. You can follow my progress there as well. Eireann Go Bragh!